Sunday, April 22, 2007

Wild Duck Creek, Duck Muck Heathcote Shiraz 2002

Mr B was back in last night, which allowed me the chance to secure a few bottles of this fantastic Heathcote Shiraz. Wild Duck Creek has become something of a cult winery in no small part due to Robert Parker Jnrs 99 point review of the 97 Duck Muck. We got hold of a couple of bottles a few years ago, but we had to buy three cases of the Springflat and three cases of the Yellowhammer hill in order to get them. This time Roger has four bottles that he wants shot off, so I managed to negoitiate a good price for them, and weve taken all four. I managed to get one bottle sent over this week because I knew Mr B was coming.

Whilst the Barossa is well known for its Shiraz, Heathcote is just as good, but stylistically different. It has a slightly longer, slightly cooler growing season, and so the wines seem to have a more balanced ripeness about them. While Barossa shiraz has quite a dominant eucalyptus aroma about it, Heathcote Shiraz is more black peppercorn in style. My favourite Aussie shiraz comes from Heathcote, Ron Laughtons Jasper Hill Georgia's Paddock shiraz. I love the dense jammy fruit flavours with undertones of black pepper and a subtle hint of menthol. It doesnt have the "vicks vaporub" blast of menthol that I find in Charlie Meltons Shiraz (which I would put at third behind Henschkes Hill of Grace).

So what was it like? On the nose it was dense jammy black berry fruit flavours - currants, brambles and black cherry. There was a spicy peppercorn note to the aromas underpinned with a soft seam of menthol mintiness. On the palate the fruit dominated - fruits of the forest with hints of big dark cocoa. The tannins were remarkably smooth, even before decanting, gently coating the gums before fading elegantly leaving the spicy cedar and pepper finish. After an hour in the glass, this wine was filling the corner of the restaurant with its enticing aromas. Its a big, badass wine - but more akin to a Barossa Valley Vineyards E&E Black Pepper Shiraz, than a Henschke Hill of Grace. I can see why Parker likes it. Maybe if I get a good bonus this month I might wrest one from Mr B!

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